Banjo's Birthday: Harry Pickering recited some of his favorite bush poetry.
Banjo's Birthday: Harry Pickering recited some of his favorite bush poetry. Michael Nolan

Poets gather under the stars to recite some Banjo

BRIAN Weier's favourite Banjo Paterson poem is The Man for Snowy River.

"Its the first poem I learnt. I don't do it a lot but I sometimes do it around this time of the year being Banjo's birthday.”

Mr Weier is a regular at the Pickering's farm off the Bunya Highway near Bell.

He, along with about 80-odd Banjo Paterson fan's roll onto the property around Feburary 17 to celebrate the bush balladeer's birthday by belting out few poems.

"I've been coming here for about seven years.”

Harry Pickering hosts the night with his wife Judy.

"My farourite is one few people have heard of, it's called In The Stable,” Mr Pickering said.

"Its about a fella that had a bit of quarrel with the Ben Hall gang and he was only on a young, unbroken horse and they were after him on their flash horses.

"It's big horse chase down the mountain.

Like many of Banjo's poems, how much is based real events has been lost to history.

"Look you wouldn't know, like The Man From Snowy River is fiction but there were probably plenty of riders that did what he did,” Mr Pickering said.

"All his war poem would be true, that would all be factual. "

"In fact I think some of his war poems were too factual and the government, from what I can make out put a bit of censorship on some of them.

Banjo was a war correspondent for both the Boer War and the First World War but the exact nature of this censorship remains shrouded in folk law and rumour.

"The Last Parade, they say that they (government) had taken some verses out of it, about when they took the horse out and shot them in the desert, but don't quote me on that.” Mr Pickering said.

"Most of his poems are based on someone that did something.

"He would have elaborated a bit, no doubt.”

Word is fragments of the original poem turned up in the collection of one of Banjo's contemporaries.

"There's a poet whose father actually had a transcript of the full poem, he lost it in a house fire but old mate, his son, had memorised it,” he said.

"You'd don't know if it speculation, but I think there's an element of truth in it.”

"I just think he has a wonderful way of telling a story, once you hear one of his poems, you know what it's about.”

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